Connie Conard, left, accepts the AARP Andrus Award from Chamber vice president Kathy Pierce.

Conard honored with AARP award
Members of the Skagway Chamber of Commerce joined local senior citizens Dec. 12 in honoring longtime teacher and volunteer Connie Conard, winner of the 2003 American Association of Retired Persons Andrus Award for Alaska.
The award was announced last summer after Conard had been nominated by the chamber, but it was not presented until recently. Conard’s picture was among winners from all 50 states in the national AARP newsletter this month.
Before the award was presented at the senior luncheon, a poem by Sheryl Dennis was read, calling her “a jewel in Skagway’s crown.” Mayor Tim Bourcy read a statement from former mayor and student Stan Selmer, who said Conard “continues to teach us how to be good, kind, living human beings.” Chamber vice president Kathy Pierce read from the press release and chamber president Jan Tronrud’s nominating statement, saying Conard embodies the AARP motto, “To serve, not to be served.”
Conard rose to a standing ovation and talked about growing up as the youngest child in a family of six in Kansas. Even though her brothers liked to pass on work to their kid sister, she “ate it up” and continued to volunteer for things through college and her two decade teaching career in Skagway.
She enjoyed sports and used her experience in manipulating the joints of students, and in helping older residents with problems. One July in Skagway she had 31 such requests. Her only charge was telling them to “go out and do a good deed for someone else some time ... and a hug. I get lots of hugs.”
Everyone knows about the years of help and care she provided to fellow retired teacher Elma McMillen, who passed away a year ago. And that kind of help continues, often unseen. Mildred Meroney said Connie recently helped her family out when she had to make a trip to the hospital, and she was very grateful.
Conard said Skagway’s response to her good deeds has been wonderful.
“It’s just one big circle and we are the best circle in the whole wide world,” Conard said.
At the end of the luncheon, senior lunch coordinator Tim Salter asked for a couple of dishwashers. Conard was the first to raise her hand.

Lynn Herbig named 2003 Helen B. Clark Award winner
Lynn Herbig was named the recipient of the 2003 Helen B. Clark Award for Skagway Community Service at the annual Yuletide Ball.
Herbig was recognized for spearheading the annual Easter Egg Hunt for the Skagway Childcare Council and for chairing the local Breast Cancer Awareness fund. She has organized the Fran Delisle Cancer Awareness Walk and the fund has paid out almost $30,000 for cancer screenings and follow-up tests for local men and women, and has given another $20,000 in donations to cancer victims. As a past two-time president of the Eagles Auxiliary, she has chaired many events like the annual Christmas program.
“She is not only a good leader, she is also one of the best all around volunteers,” said her nominating statement. “You can call her up and say ‘I need...’ and she’s right there to help. Whether it’s decorating beforehand or cleaning up after the fact, or waitressing during the function. And especially if it has to do with kids, hers or anybody else’s...
“It doesn’t matter what the situation or even who asks she is there to help, with laughter and good humor and enthusiasm every time.”

Herbig was away from Skagway and will be presented her award at the Jan. 15, 2004 Skagway City Council meeting.

Given a special recognition certificate at the Yuletide Ball was nominee Dennis Bousson, who was recognized for his level-headed participation in community affairs as a member of the Skagway Recreation Board, the Dyea Community Advisory Board, the North Lynn Canal Transportation Committee, and the Skagway Public Library Board.
The award is sponsored annually by the Skagway News Co. which gave the first award for volunteer service to the late Helen Clark in 1988. Past winners make up the selection committee and review nominations every November.